TIME Environment

Scientists Warn ‘Sixth Extinction’ May Be Underway

extinction
Science Advances

The paper used conservative premises and still arrived what scientists said was a concerning conclusion

A new paper warns that a major extinction event, one that would be the sixth in our planet’s history, may be underway. The authors of the paper, published in Science Advances, sought to determine whether recent loss in biodiversity has been caused by human activity; the conclusion they reach is that “a sixth mass extinction is already under way.”

The scientists’ abstract concludes:

Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

As Kaleigh Rogers points out at Vice, this paper hardly breaks ground in its premise; the idea that Earth is undergoing the sixth extinction has been written about by scientists before. What differs, here, are the criteria; the scientists estimated very conservatively when it came to how many species have recently gone extinct, and still found that conservative estimate showing the likelihood of an environmental cataclysm.

TIME Natural Disasters

This Is What It’s Like to Get Caught in an Avalanche

A helmet cam video shows what it's like to get buried by snow

It’s every skier’s worst nightmare, but one that can indeed be survived.

Kristoffer Carlsson survived an avalanche while skiing in 2011, and brought back helmet-cam video of the snow burying him. Experts say that the best way to survive in Carlsson’s scary situation is to do exactly what he did: Use your hands to create a pocket of air as the snow falls.

TIME Environment

Louisiana Black Bear Is No Longer Endangered

In this May 17, 2015 photo, a Louisiana Black Bear, sub-species of the black bear that is protected under the Endangered Species Act, is seen in a water oak tree in Marksville, La.
Gerald Herbert—AP In this May 17, 2015 photo, a Louisiana Black Bear, sub-species of the black bear that is protected under the Endangered Species Act, is seen in a water oak tree in Marksville, La.

The bear is the original inspiration for the "Teddy Bear"

The Louisiana black bear is set to be removed from the endangered species list, the U.S. Department of Interior announced.

The bear, which was the original inspiration for the “Teddy Bear,” has been the focus of conservation efforts for more than 20 years. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that because of that conservation push, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed that the Louisiana black bear no longer be listed as endangered.

“Across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, we have worked together with our partners to protect and restore habitat, reintroduce populations and reduce the threats to the bear,” Jewell said in a press release.

“Today’s recovery of the bear is yet another success story of the Endangered Species Act.”

TIME animals

Scientists Discover the First Fully Warm-Blooded Fish

The opah lives hundreds of feet deep below the surface

Scientists have discovered another apparent first, according to new research published in Science: a fully warm-blooded fish.

The opah, which researchers say dwells in the cold, dark depths of the ocean, is able to produce heat by constantly flapping its fins like wings as it moves about, keeping its blood warm as it circulates throughout its body. The opah’s warm-bloodedness is advantageous for the fish, as it’s able to keep itself at least 5 degrees Celsius warmer than its surrounding water and move about quickly to prey on other fish.

The researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said the fish is the first known one to be identified as fully warm-blooded, a characteristic typical to mammals and birds; tuna and shark are only partially endothermic, meaning warm blood pumps to only select organs.

Researchers told the Washington Post on Thursday they were curious about the fish given its large size, big eyes, and agility in cold water.

TIME nature

Watch Bears Chase Tourists Who Got Too Close in Yellowstone National Park

"Keep going! Go! Go!"

Tourists in Yellowstone National Park got a little too close to the wildlife this week, and one mother just couldn’t bear it.

A watchful black bear sow sent the curious onlookers running after they crowded her three cubs in a section of the park in Montana. “Keep going! Go! Go!” Yellowstone Park Ranger John Kerr is heard yelling as the tourists scatter in a video.

“These tourists were absolutely in danger,” Bob Gibson, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Communication & Education Program Manager, told NBC News. “Black bears are usually shy of people. But you put them with their cubs…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME nature

Sardine Fishing Off the U.S. West Coast Could Be Banned As Stocks Are So Low

482149911
Getty Images

The phrase "packed like sardines" could soon sound obsolete

Correction appended, April 10

A rapid decline in sardine populations along the U.S. Pacific Coast may push authorities to impose a widespread ban on harvesting the species soon.

Conservationists argue that chronic overfishing has caused sardine numbers in U.S. waters to fall by an estimated 90% since 2007. However, others suggest the decline is part of a natural fluctuation in biomass.

With fewer sardines in the wild, malnourished sea lions are struggling to find food and washing up on Californian shores in records numbers, while predatory birds, like the brown pelican, are also suffering.

If the ban is enacted, it’s expected to hit West Coast seafood producers hard.

“Most sardine fishermen also fish for other species such as mackerel, anchovy, or squid,” Kerry Griffin, a staff officer with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, told Reuters. “But not having sardines available as one of their staples could be difficult.”

The council is set to make its ruling on Sunday.

[Reuters]

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated who blamed overfishing for the reduced sardine populations. It was conservationists.

MONEY Entrepreneurs

Here’s a New Theory About Why People Become Entrepreneurs

mother and daughter shopkeepers
Ariel Skelley—Getty Images

Nurture beats nature when it comes to small business ambitions, according to a new study.

It’s long been known that children with entrepreneurial parents are more likely to become entrepreneurs themselves. But new research quantifies that effect—and goes a step further by suggesting why exactly that might be.

The study, published in the latest Journal of Labor Economics, found that upbringing, rather than genetics, seems to have the biggest effect on the offspring of self-started business owners. The researchers did something prior studies (which mainly focused on twins) hadn’t: They examined the career choices of thousands of Swedish children raised by either adoptive or biological parents to compare the relative effects of nature and nurture on the entrepreneurial impulse.

Adopted children, they found, were 20% more likely to become entrepreneurs if their biological parents were also entrepreneurs. But if it was their adoptive parents who were entrepreneurs, it was 45% more likely children would follow suit.

“The importance of adoptive parents is twice as large as the influence of biological parents,” wrote authors Joeri Sol and Mirjam Van Praag of the University of Amsterdam, and Matthew Lindquist of Stockholm University.

The authors controlled for the possibility that kids might just be inheriting the family business (or money to start a new business) and continued to find the same effect—which suggests that kids were simply seeing their parents as role models. That would also explain why gender had a big impact on children: Daughters in the study were most likely to become entrepreneurs if their mothers were—and sons if their fathers were.

These findings may also have implications for educators and policymakers who care about growing small businesses. The greater the effect of nurture on career choices, the authors wrote, “the larger the potential benefit of programs aimed at fostering entrepreneurship.”

The biggest takeaway for parents? If you want your kids to become start-up success stories, you should first try to become one yourself.

TIME space

Watch the Total Solar Eclipse in 5 Seconds

ESA/SDO/dpa/Corbis (6); GIF by Mia Tramz for TIME

If you weren't in the Faroe Islands to see it, catch the time lapse here

People in a small swath of Europe were treated to a total solar eclipse early Friday morning as the moon aligned to fully block the sun from their vantage point on Earth.

The European Space Agency published images of the eclipse recorded by a small Proba-2 satellite.

Americans haven’t seen a total solar eclipse since 1979, and certain states will see the next one on Aug. 21, 2017.

TIME astronomy

See the 9 Most Breathtaking Photos of the Northern Lights

A strong geomagnetic storm enhanced the aurora borealis on Tuesday night. Watch highlights from the natural light show here.

MONEY Odd Spending

Brilliant Guy in Massachusetts Is Selling Snow for ‘Only $89′

snowball wrapped in brown paper
Phil Ashley—Getty Images

Originally marked down from $99! The price includes overnight shipping anywhere in the U.S., and each package includes enough snow to make about a dozen snowballs.

New England—and Boston specifically—has way more snow than it knows what to do with. Boston has received roughly 100 inches of snow this winter. And it’s not even March yet. And guess what the forecast calls for on Tuesday? Yep, a few more inches of snow.

Boston has had so much snow that in early February the city started considering special approval by the EPA to dump it in the ocean because snow removal teams have been running out of places to put it.

It’s amid this scene that a Massachusetts man got the idea that he could do his part to get rid of some of the snow—and make some profits while he’s at it. The service, ShipSnowYo.com, started as something of a joke, but by mid-February it had reportedly sold around 100 16.9-oz. plastic bottles filled with snow, which were frozen in dry ice and shipped around the country, at a cost of $19.99.

By the time the bottles arrived at their destinations, they were most filled with pure New England water, not snow. But Waring insists that the recipients didn’t mind much. “They understand that we want to clean up Boston, so even if it does arrive as water, they get a kick out of it,” Waring explained to Boston Magazine.

Nonetheless, ShipSnowYo has since begun offering a new product that’s “Guaranteed Snow on Arrival!” This package includes 6 lbs. of snow collected courtesy of Winter Storm Neptune, which dumped 20+ inches in parts of Massachusetts. The “Limited Supply” snow comes in a thick Styrofoam container and is shipped overnight, at a cost of “$99 Now Only $89!”

Waring told Boston.com that the $89 package yields enough snow to make 10 to 15 snowballs. “It seems to be corporations paying for the $90 product as a funny gesture, where the $20 one is regular consumers,” he said of his customers.

What’s next for Waring? Look for a bigger, 10-lb. snow package to hit the market at a price of $119. Presumably, such a product would be more appropriate for larger snowball fights in Florida, Arizona, or wherever else they’re shipped. And the entrepreneur says that he might try a slightly different moneymaking idea next autumn. “Maybe I’ll ship some fall foliage,” he said.

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